Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

TO ALTHEA.-FROM PRISON.

When love with unconfined wings

Hovers within my gates; And my divine Althea brings

To whisper at the grates :
When I lye tangled in her haire,

And fetter'd to her eye;
The gods that wanton in the aire,

Know no such libertie.

When flowing cups run swiftly round

With no allaying Thames, Our carelesse heads with roses bound,

Our hearts with loyall flames; When thirsty griefe in wine we steepe,

When healths and draughts go free, Fishes that tipple in the deepe,

Know no such libertie.

When (like committed linnets) I

With shriller throat shall sing The sweetness, mercy, majesty,

And glories of my King; When I shall voyce aloud, how good

He is, how great should be; Enlarged winds that curle the flood,

Know no such libertie.

Stone walls doe not a prison make,

Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take

That for an hermitage;
If I have freedome in my love,

And in my soule am free;
Angels alone that soar above

Injoy such libertie.

ANDREW MARVELL was born on the 15th of November, 1620, at Kingston-uponHull, where his father was a dissenting minister. At the age of fifteen he was entered at Trinity College, Cambridge, and after a college life of five years, he went through most of the polite parts of Europe. In the course of travel he met with Milton; and Italy not unaptly witnessed the commencement of one of the most illustrious of friendships. In 1645 Marvell returned to England. During the eventful years which then followed, so silent are the records of his life, that we can only imagine the under current of his noble thoughts as they worked up into the arena of public action. One thing is certain-that in an age where wealth was never wanting to the unscrupulous, Marvell, a member of the popular and successful party, continued poor. Many of these years are certain to have been passed

“ Under the desting severe

of Fairfax and the Starry Vere," as tutor of languages to their daughters. In 1652 the Lord President Bradshaw received a letter from Milton, introducing a gentleman " whose name is Mr. Marvell," as one of singular desert for the state to make use of, and in which the writer added, with a generous modesty, that in this recommendation he only performed his duty to the public, “ laying aside those jealousies and that emulation which mine own condition might suggest to me, by bringing in such a coadjutor." This application, however, proved for the time unsuccessful; but a coadjutor in service with this illustrious man Marvell shortly afterwards became-two wonderful servants to a master only more wonderful. The burgesses of Hull then turned admiring eyes to their accomplished fellow-citizen, and sent him, as their representative, into the House of Commons. Through the reign of Charles the Second, the most disgusting period of our history, Marvell, enduring unutterable temptations, realized the fables of Roman virtue. He was flattered and threatened, watched by spies, waylaid by ruffians, tempted by women and by gold. In vain! Still his formidable satires rang through the very halls of the court, were roared forth in almost every tavern, and in the remotest quarters of England held up the profligate and heartless crew of power to public scorn. Thus baffled, hate was the only resource of his enemies, and in their "desires” they were at last successful. On the 16th of August, 1678, without any previous illness visible decay, Andrew Marvell died. The personal appearance of Marvell has been thus described by Aubrey: – "He was of a middling stature, pretty strong set, roundish face, cherry cheeked, hazel eyed, brown haired. In his conversation he was modest and of very few words."

His genius was as varied as it was remarkable. In this volume he occupies a loved and respected place as an exquisite and tender poet-elsewhere he may stand in the first and very highest rank, facile princeps, as an incorruptible patriot, the best of controversialists, and the leading prose wit of England. His are the "first sprightly runnings" of that glorious stream of wit, which will bear upon it down to the latest posterity the names of Swift, Steele, and Addison. Before the time of Marvell, to be witty was to be forced, strained, and conceited. From him wit first came sparkling forth untouched with baser matter. It was like his personal character. Its main feature was an open clearness. Mean detraction or sordid jealousy never for an instant stained it. He turned aside in the midst of an exalted panegyric to Oliver Cromwell, to say the finest things that have ever been said of Charles I.he left for a while his own wit in the Rehearsal Transposed, to praise the wit of Butler, his rival and political enemy. As a poet Andrew Marvell was true, and this is the grand point in poetry. He was not of the highest order, not perhaps in eren a high order, but what he did was genuine. It is sweetness speaking out in sweetness. In the language there is nothing more exquisitely tender than the “ Nymph complaining for the loss of her Fawn.” Such poems as this and "the Bermudas" may live, and deserve to live, as long as the longest and the mightiest. Of as real a quality are the majority of the poems of Marvell. In a playful and fantastic expression of tender and voluptuous beauty, they are well nigh unrivalled. His fancy indeed sometimes overmasters him, but it is always a sweet and pleasant mastery. His strong love of the actual at times bursts forth, but his poetry still survives it, and will not be fairly clogged and over-laden with the body corporate.

[graphic][merged small]

THE PICTURE OF T. C. IN A PROSPECT OF FLOWERS.

SEE with what simplicity
This nymph begins her golden days!
In the green grass she loves to lye,

And there with her fair aspect tames
The wilder flow'rs, and gives them names:
But only with the roses plays,

And them does tell

What colours best become them, and what smell.

Who can foretell for what high cause,
This darling of the Gods was born!
Yet this is she whose chaster laws
The wanton Love shall one day fear,

M M

And, under her command severe,
See his bow broke, and ensigns torn.
Happy who can

Appease this virtuous enemy of man!

O then let me in time compound,
And parly with those conquering eyes;
Ere they have try'd their force to wound,
Ere with their glancing wheels, they drive
In triumph over hearts that strive,

And them that yield but more despise.
Let me be laid,

Where I may see the glorys from some shade.

Mean time, whilst every verdant thing
Itself does at thy beauty charm,
Reform the errors of the spring:
Make that the tulips may have share
Of sweetness, seeing they are fair;
And roses of their thorns disarm :
But most procure,
That violets may a longer age endure.

But O, young beauty of the woods,
Whom Nature courts with fruits and flow'rs,
Gather the flowers, but spare the buds;
Lest Flora, angry at thy crime
To kill her infants in their prime,
Should quickly make the example yours;
And ere we see,

Nip, in the blossom, all our hopes in thee.

BERMUDAS.

WHERE the remote Bermudas ride,
In the ocean's bosom unespied;
From a small boat, that row'd along,
The list'ning winds receiv'd this song.

What should we do but sing his praise,
That led us through the wat'ry maze,
Unto an isle so long unknown,
And yet far kinder than our own?

Where he the huge sea-monsters wracks,
That lift the deep upon their backs.
He lands us on a grassy stage,
Safe from the storms, and prelate's rage.
He gave us this eternal spring,
Which here enamels every thing;
And sends the fowls to us in care,
On daily visits thro' the air.
He hangs in shades the orange bright,
Like golden lamps in a green night;
And does in the pomegranates close
Jewels more rich than Ormus shows.
He makes the figs our mouths to meet;
And throws the melons at our feet.
But apples plants of such a price,
No tree could ever bear them twice.
With cedars, chosen by his hand,
From Lebanon, he stores the land;
And makes the hollow seas, that roar,
Proclaim the ambergrease on shore.
He cast (of which we rather boast)
The gospel's pearl upon our coast;
And in these rocks for us did frame
A temple, where to sound his name.
Oh! let our voice his praise exalt,
Till it arrive at Heaven's vault:
Which, thence (perhaps) rebounding, may,
Echo beyond the Mexique Bay.

Thus sung they, in the English boat,
An holy and a chearful note;
And all the way, to guide their chime,
With falling oars they kept the time.

THE NYMPH COMPLAINING FOR THE DEATH OF HER FAWN.

THE wanton troopers riding by,
Have shot my fawn, and it will dye.
Ungentle men! they cannot thrive
Who kill'd thee. Thou ne'er didst alive

« AnteriorContinuar »